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Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Port Primer

A few years ago I wrote a little guide to Portuguese wine. At the time I drank Ruby Port on occasion, but really didn't know anything about Portuguese table wines or Port. As part of my research I tried plenty of Portuguese table wines and found them to be tremendously accessible--inexpensive, distinctive and food friendly. Given the budget of the project I didn't get to try as much Port as I would have liked, but this year I got to try plenty including some at Taylor Fladgate's scenic tasting room, overlooking the Douro. What is Port? Port is a delicious treat. It's a fortified wine that can be served with cheese, fruit, nuts, cake or chocolate but frankly, it's wonderful on its own. It's also terrific for cooking and making sauces. Tawny Port, either chilled or at room temperature can be served as an aperitif or as a dessert wine. Because once opened, a bottle of Port keeps longer than a typical bottle of wine, it's a lasting luxury and makes a wonderful ...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On the eve of Thanksgiving I'm pretty sure you've already figured out what you are cooking or eating tomorrow, if you haven't, you could check out my post on Bay Area Bites with links to three "winning" recipes. The reason I haven't been posting here very frequently is that I've been doing a lot of recipe development, 22 new recipes to be exact and before that I completed 30 more recipes for another client. I'm terribly sorry the recipes aren't available yet, because a number of them are really perfect for Thanksgiving and I plan on serving two of them tomorrow. I promise to share them as soon as I can. In the meantime, here are links to two very useful "before and after" Thanksgiving links I think you'll enjoy: Fine Cooking to the Rescue! Emergency Fixes for the Top Ten Thanksgiving Disasters Gourmet's Delicious Uses for Leftover Turkey Finally, don't forget! Come see me at the Union Square Williams-Sonoma store in...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meet me at Union Square?

This Saturday, November 29th I'll be at the Union Square Williams-Sonoma store signing my brand new cookbook, New Flavors for Appetizers and doing a little demo of a super easy recipe--three ingredients and no cooking! The book features recipes that are organized seasonally and for the most part, take very little effort to make but use interesting and exciting ingredients. Since completing the book this Spring, I have revisited the recipes and made many of the appetizers time and again for parties and potlucks. I'd be more than happy to show you my favorites, tell you the stories behind the recipes and anything else you'd like to know about writing a cookbook. Please do stop by the store anytime between noon and 2 pm and say hi! cheers, Amy Book signing and demo 12 - 2 pm Williams-Sonoma 340 Post St @ Stockton San Francisco, CA View Larger Map...
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Test Kitchen Tales

I became a recipe developer by accident, and not by design. I posted some of my favorite recipes online and not long after I was contacted by various companies and publishers to help create recipes for them as well. It's been wonderful to do something I love and make a living at it. My process is the same as it always was, I am inspired by any number of things, it could be the season, an ingredient, a place, even a memory. I do lots of research, reading recipes in cookbooks, on blogs, magazines, and even asking friends and family for help. I create an outline of what I intend to do and take it into the kitchen. I cook and take notes and then I taste. I also have an official taste tester, Lee. Between the two of us we discuss and dissect and I tweak the recipe to get it to the point that I am satisfied. While in New York last month I got to spend some time with recipe developers at Saveur, Everday Food and Gourmet. I saw their kitchens, tasted their food and chatted with the...
Monday, November 10, 2008

Lunch at the Bar Room at The Modern

I polled several friends before heading to New York and the restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art, The Bar Room at The Modern was recommended over and over again. I wasn't the only one in town eager to dine there, Alice of Alice Q. Foodie put together a lunch of fellow food bloggers Lisa from Homesick Texan , Deb of Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet food editor and all-around nice guy, Ian Knauer . When eating with foodie friends, it's de rigeur to over order, share, nibble off each other's plates, and generally get lost in conversation and that's a perfectly good description of my final lunch in New York. Service was never rushed, helpful and proactive but not pushy. Even in an incident that will surely require dry cleaning, the staff showed themselves to be consummate professionals. Here's what we ordered to share, the Modern Liverwurst, with pickled vegetables. It was a very refined version and there was plenty to share. An Alsatian thin crust tart with creme fraic...
Monday, November 03, 2008

Dinner at Momofuku Ssam Bar

After the session with David Chang at the Gourmet Institute I was even more eager to try dining at one of his Momofuku restaurants. Though Chang has written that he believes we are moving towards a less future with less cheap industrial meat, he is firmly in the carnivore camp. Be forewarned, at Momofuku Ssam Bar, the menu says, "We do not serve vegetarian friendly items," and they're not kidding. It is a very meaty menu. It's also a menu full of surprises. I was a bit taken aback to see a list of four different root beers on the menu. I was even more amazed to discover how wonderfully well root beer pairs with the spicy, lusty flavors of his food. What did I eat at Momofuku Ssam Bar ? The famous steam buns with pork belly hoisin, cucumber and scallions, of course. They melt in your mouth and might possibly be a candidate for my next round of the parlor game "name your last meal." A perfectly tender charred chili spiced calamari salad with ginger, scallion...
Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cooking Secrets from David Chang

David Chang, James Beard Rising Star Chef for 2007, is one of the most hyped chefs in New York, so much so that he even jokingly once referred to himself as "overrated pseudo chef," in an interview at Serious Eats . Yet one of the reasons I wanted to go to New York was to hear David Chang present at the Gourmet Institute and to eat his food. I was not disappointed. His food is luscious, bold and sexy and his obsession with perfection and quality seem to fit comfortably with his innovative use of traditional techiniques and delectable flavor combinations. There were three recipes and several techniques I learned from his session at the Gourmet Institute that I will surely be adding to my repertoire. First off he shared a recipe for "tare" which he described as a type of Japanese barbecue sauce that gets added to many dishes and sauces. The basic formula was 4 parts dark soy sauce, 1/2 part brown sugar and 1 part mirin. After allowing it to simmer he placed a knife ...